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Embarrassing-But I need help!(25 posts)

Embarrassing-But I need help!dinky
Aug 13, 2001 4:23 PM
I'm still having saddle trouble. After some discreet polling among my VERY closest friends, it would seem that I soft tissue than the average female. I bought the terry liberator butterfly last week and have logged about 100 miles on it and am still experiencing the same discomfort as with other saddles. In short, I feel like I am riding on my crotch. Tilting the saddle forward to relieve pressure worked a little but the increase of weight on my wrists/hands was uncomfortable in its own way. My sit bones feel like I am making good contact. I really thought the terry would solve the problem. But I know that I shouldn't be squirming around after only 8 miles. Unlike other posters, I don't experience any long term numbing but at this point my longest ride has only been 40 miles.
So, are there any others with a similar situation? I'm already into this saddle quest for about $200 and am not too enthusiastic about buying yet another saddle. The shop that I got the terry from agreed to let me exchange it if things didn't work out but I don't even know what else to try at this point? Should I give the terry more time? Are there adjustments that I should make that would make it better? I know that saddles are highly personal but a little direction might save me some cash and discomfort. Thanks!
Trials and tribulationsKerry Irons
Aug 13, 2001 4:38 PM
It's not possible to say that the "right" saddle for you will feel great the minute you sit on it. Sometimes this happens, and sometimes not, but certainly you should not be suffering after only a half hour, let alone 100 miles. That is more than enough time to get a glimmer of hope. If the shop is willing to swap, I would just keep trying different saddles. Different widths, different padding density, different lengths, etc. As you noted, this is a highly personal thing, so what works well for someone else might be terrible for you. It does sound like you need to find a saddle that emphasizes support for the rear of your rear (sit bones) to get you off the front. Sometimes you can see this visually. Another thing to recognize is that you certainly need to toughen up your rear in order to be comfortable riding distance. It doesn't happen overnight, but assuming that 100 miles wasn't spread over more than 2 weeks, you're probably there.
Trials and tribulationsJohnG
Aug 13, 2001 6:41 PM
Several gal riders I know have had very good luck with the womens specific Selle Italia Flights:
These saddles have a cut-out! :)

My experience is that unless a saddle puts the vast majority of my weight on my "sit-bones" then I'm in trouble. The mens flight trans am has the cut-out and it works for me. Funny, I just tried the SLR and it was VEEEEERY uncomfy! Felt like I was stradling the rounded edge of a 2X4. :(

good luck
re: Embarrassing-But I need help!peloton
Aug 13, 2001 4:38 PM
If you have found a shop with a saddle exchange program like you say, then you have the best answer already. With saddles, there are no quick fixes, you just have to try a few to see what works for you. Anything anyone here suggests would just be a guess. It would be sort of like asking what kind of shoes would fit me well. Sometimes making adjustments to the saddle height, fore-aft adjustment, or tilt can make a big difference too. If making adjustments hasn't worked for you, I would try another saddle. Good luck.
re: fit?bike_junkie
Aug 13, 2001 4:39 PM
I'm not a female so I can't help much. But I'd visit a shop with a great certified fitter and have them watch you spin on the bike and check things out. Small adjustments can change things alot for better or for worse. If you've got a Serotta dealer near you, I'd go see them, they are great about fit. Good Luck.
Agree!Spoke Wrench
Aug 14, 2001 6:10 AM
When nothing seems to work, go back to the default mode and start over. In this case, the starting point should be your fit on the bike frame.

It sounds to me like you might be leaning too far forward on your bike. Saddle too high, top tube/stem too long, or handlebar too low could all cause the kind of discomfort you are experiencing.
re: Another angle...Rusty Coggs
Aug 13, 2001 4:48 PM
Rather than lining up the saddle parallel to the toptube,try an angle slightly off axis either way. Works for me,but I don't have your problem.
re: Embarrassing-But I need help!whygimf
Aug 13, 2001 5:22 PM

Spoke with Terrie Anne who rides 100+ per week and she loves her
Fizik Vitesse. No cutouts, a bit wider in the back, and good suspension without heavy padding. Made for a woman.... very sleak look. She says the saddle puts the pressure on the seatbones, relieving more tender areas. Her quote: "it's the most awesome saddle!"
Aug 13, 2001 8:09 PM
The saddle that came with my bike was the Fizik pave with I believe is the male version of the vitesse. I made it for about 700 miles on that saddle before I decided that I needed a change. It was uncomfortable but obviously I was able to stand it for much longer than my recent attempts. My complaint about the butterfly is that it seems almost too soft....aha! I think that I will try the vitesse, thanks for the input!
Interesting.......Vlad the Impaler
Aug 13, 2001 8:45 PM
My wife has the same physical characteristic you described and has found a firmer saddle to be better. You might look into the Avocet O2 womens saddle. It doesn't have the cutout but a depression instead. It's firmer then the Terry though. I found when looking for a saddle for myself to relieve numbness "down there" that the Selle Italia Flight Trans Am worked great for me. I was considering the Terry saddles but they seemed too soft. You may also look into the womens version of the Trans Am. My personal opinion is that the higher up you're sitting on your sit bones because of a firm saddle, the less you're being compressed in the middle area. Good luck on your search.
Maybe the problem is in your shorts!wink
Aug 13, 2001 5:37 PM
I not a girl, but I had my share of bottom/private problems. All went away when I accidently got a new pair of bike shorts. New shorts, no more problems. Now I stick with the same brand. About $65.00 a shot, but better then changing out saddles. Hopes this helps! Good Luck!
re: Embarrassing-But I need help!Lone Gunman
Aug 13, 2001 5:41 PM
You didn't mention what kind of shorts you are wearing. That can make a big difference just as much as the seat, they sort of work in concert, seats and better shorts. Voler makes shorts for women and are reasonable on price and they have colors. Might also try some chamois butter on the short insert as well. I ride a terry fly saddle and bought from them directly and they had/have a money back guarantee program.
re: Embarrassing-But I need help!JohnG
Aug 13, 2001 6:45 PM
Several gal riders I know have had very good luck with the womens specific Selle Italia Flights:
These saddles have a cut-out! :)

My experience is that unless a saddle puts the vast majority of my weight on my "sit-bones" then I'm in trouble. The mens flight trans am has the cut-out and it works for me. Funny, I just tried the SLR and it was VEEEEERY uncomfy! Felt like I was stradling the rounded edge of a 2X4. :(

good luck
different for everyonepeloton
Aug 13, 2001 7:04 PM
Saddles are such a personal thing. You have luck with the flight trans am. I have re-occuring nightmares of a few rides I spent on that same saddle a couple of years ago. Not to say that it is a bad saddle, the construction is good and lots of folks like them. It's just a bad saddle for me. My point is though that different people like different saddles. Trail and error works best to find out what works for you.
re: Embarrassing-But I need help!KEN2
Aug 13, 2001 8:05 PM
You don't mention in your post...but what is the differential in height between saddle and bars? As you probably know, if your bars are the same as or higher than your saddle you may have too much pressure on the saddle (besides a less than aerodynamic position), which can cause problems. But if the bars are more than 2 inches or so below the saddle height, it could also aggravate your problem because of the angle your pelvis has to assume. Just tilting the nose forward doesn't help, because as you note it just tips too much weight onto the hands.
Thanks all!dinky
Aug 13, 2001 8:05 PM
You all have given me some good ideas and I REALLY appreciate that there were no obnoxious posts. It aint easy talking about your biz on the internet with strangers but I can't stand being so dang uncomfortable and I love riding. Thanks!
serfas saddlesfuzzybunnies
Aug 13, 2001 8:12 PM
Serfas makes a racing and mtb saddle called the RX that is totally split down the middle. They are usually sold with a 7-10 day try out period. Very successful so far having had maybe 4-5 returned to the shop out of well over 400. Hope this helps. TTFN
Want a smartass answer?CDC
Aug 13, 2001 8:35 PM
Ask the same question on MTBR. I love mountain biking as much as road riding, but that board is full of idiots.

I know how you feel, (sort of). My saddle is a pain in the arse as well. Gotta look for a new one.
here's the solution:d alex
Aug 14, 2001 3:57 AM
The reason why you are uncomfortable is that those highly touted "gel" inserts are nothing more than hype. People who use wheelchairs have used gel cushions for years, and they work well for them, but those cushions weigh 10-20 lbs each! A 1oz gel insert isn't going to do $hit. After sitting on it for 10 minutes, all you will feel is the plastic below. If there is stitching on top of it, then you will feel it, too.
Despite what all the weight-weenies out there say, you best bet is to buy a Brooks leather saddle. The place you put your parts on is actually more like a sling-there are no hard pieces underneath it. These saddles do weigh a bit more (maybe 8-10 oz more), and take a couple of weeks to break in properly. They also must not be allowed to get saturated with water. There are several women-only styles to choose from.
You can always keep one of those lightweigh, uncomfortable saddles around for racing, but if you want comfort, this is really the only way to go.
If you last long enoughBreezydz
Aug 14, 2001 5:12 AM
Brooks saddles do eventually work, but the break in time is quite a bit longer for me than for you and there are saddles that fit me well almost immediately. I just got a Terry Fly on a new bike and found that the hole requires very precise adjustment of the angle of the saddle. Placed parallel to the top tube, the left edge of the hole was uncomfortable after 20m or so. I turned the nose of the saddle a bit to the right and it's now as good as the old San Marco Concors saddles I've ridden since 1983.
BTWalex the engineer
Aug 14, 2001 5:50 AM
Wallbike has a 6-month money-back guarantee. You won't find another guarantee anywhere near as good. Most people who return them don't give them enough time to break in. They always have a few returns, priced a few $$ less, which are partly broken in. Check those out first. Give them a call, and ask for suggestions.
Different PerspectiveStewK
Aug 14, 2001 6:13 AM
I'm a guy, but I've had a similar problem and tried a number of different saddles. In my experience, I've found that less padding is better - both in the saddle and in your shorts.

I had a men's Terry Liberator which was only slightly better than the stock saddle. Right now I have a Selle Italia Trimatic gel which has been okay lately, but if I were to buy a new saddle I would lean twoards less padding and get either a regular Selle Italia Flite (no gel) or maybe the Selle Italia SLR (almost no padding). The problem I've had is that the extra padding exerts more pressure, not less, on those tender spots. It's softer, so it exerts the pressure without you noticing it until you go numb.

As far as the shorts go, I've found that less padding lets me feel the saddle better. This in turn, lets me know when I'm sitting in a position where the saddle is exerting pressure in the wrong spot. The difference between sitting in a good position and sitting in a bad position is very small, so I don't notice it with shorts that have greater padding. In all cases, it always feels like I'm on my "sit bones".

Also, for me, cut-outs don't work. The edges of the cut-out seem more damaging than any benefit I get from the "open space".

Of course, your situation could be completely different. Good luck.
Padded shorts?kenyee
Aug 14, 2001 6:27 AM
Hope you're wearing padded shorts at least. When I tried riding after a 20yr hiatus, I couldn't believe how much my rear hurt. It felt like I'd been smacked by a 2x4 :-) The next week, I bought a pair of padded Bellwether shorts (not quite ready for tights yet), did another ride for a slightly longer distance (finished the entire 18mi trail) and hurt less (only on the drive home vs. 2 days afterwards).

Another seat you might want to try is one or two of the ones. They have a 30 day guarantee. The Tri looks interesting but it's bloody expensive.

Some books recommend rotating the seat 5 degrees off center, either left or right, but I'm not sure if it's a guy thing or not. Might be worth a try as well.
Stuff I Just Learned...Kristin
Aug 14, 2001 6:32 AM
I'm just beinging my quest for the right saddle as well, so I know how you feel. I thought I'd share some stuff with you that I just learned. I'm reading a book called, "The Female Cyclist." Excellent book, by the way! And there is a few paragraphs about saddle choices. Two things stuck out: 1. The Gel saddles, while cushy, can form or mould itself into the shape of your perinium (sp??) after a few miles. This is the area between your sit bones where some nerves and blood vessels run. I've been having shooting pain in the back of my left leg, and quads that cramp to quickly...this is caused by my Serfas Gel saddle. This is a problem with will affect women mostly because our sit bones are typically wider than mens. On a guy, its just harder for saddle gel to get into those places. 2. People new to riding tend to sit on the saddle because the muscles in their butts (gluts) and the tendons around the pelvic area are weak and out of shape. Once a rider is seasoned and those muscles are developed they won't completely sit on the saddle, but rather perch on it--with more weight being distributed to the legs than the butt. Currently I put most of my weight onto the saddle b/c I'm not strong yet. This ultimately means I come home with a sore/bruised pelvic bone. I think its a good thing. On long rides it forces me to remove some of that weight from my saddle and excercise those underworked muscles. Pain hurts--but its also a good teacher.
More Brooks Advice...UncleMoe
Aug 14, 2001 7:56 AM
I just got my Brooks B17 delivered on Saturday, treated it with the proofide, and did a 20 mile commute to work this morning. I can tell you that this is the very first ride in I don't know how long where I did not go numb in my groin. To me it is a miracle after trying 3-4 different saddles. Based on the advice I found here I figured I'd try one. Just be sure to get the proofide and treat it for a full 24 hours to soften it up.

I'm holding off on speaking very highly of it until I do some longer rides, but it has made a heck of a first impression. And I've been told it only gets better.

- It is a lot lighter than others will lead you to believe unless you are a weight weenie.
- It was hard as a rock when I first sat on it, but it literally loosened up in about 2 miles. Now it feels like it was made for my butt.
- Got mine at mainly for the 6 month money back gaurantee. Right now I doubt I'll need it.
- It does not look ancient. My wife even said how cool and stylish it looked, and she is a major critic. It is much better looking in person than in pictures.

I'm not saying you won't find a saddle that is cheaper and will fit a little better, but the trial and error process was not one I wanted to take up. I had already wasted some time on it, so I bit the bullet. stocks what appears to be all the models. I got the $83 B17 Cahmpion model because it had a different cut and style with larger copper rivets. But you can get the base model with the exact same leather and frame for $60 I think.

I debated between the brown and black and ended up with the brown. Perhaps the best purchase I made for any bike I've ever owned.

Lastly, the getting it wet part concerned me a little, but I live in San Diego so I'm not sure it is a big issue with 5-10 days of rain per year. If I lived on the East Coast I might feel different. Ask Miek at his opinion on the pros and cons and care if it gets wet.